Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Andis Kaulins in China Diary: November 25 to December 1, 2013

Monday [November 25]
[Home Laptop]
  • I don't work today.
  • I stayed at home. In the afternoon, I do go out with Jenny to do some grocery shopping at Tesco.
  • At the food court near the Tesco, I ate sushi. Afterward, as I was with Jenny in the Tesco, the food all came back to me, and I had to do the squats in the public toilet.
  • I can't remember when it was that I last did the squats. I hate to squat because I just can't do it properly. I have to take off my pants so as not to splatter on them.
  • I have a suspicion that one of the foreign trainers at my school has trained himself to do the squats.
  • At the apartment, I posted a lot of entries to all my blogs the Internet.
  • On his arrival home from school at 4:00 PM, Tony immediately complained that the train set, which had been set up on Sunday afternoon, had been taken down. So, I set it up for him after supper.
  • I was watching, off and on, the Keys to the Kingdom, a film in which Gregory Peck plays a priest and sets up a mission in China. The Chinese, spoken, as far as I can tell, was authentic.

Tuesday [November 26]
[Home Laptop]
  • I work 13:00 to 21:00 today.
  • I didn't want to arise this morning, but I had to. I had to take Tony, who was less willing than me to get up, to get picked up by the car, a black VW sedan, that takes him to school.
  • When I was in grade one, I walked to school by myself.
  • When I was in grades three to six and living in Quebec, I took the bus to school. At the lunchtime, the bus would pick us up from school and take us back home where Mom would make us a hot lunch. At Tony's school, the lunch period is so short that Jenny has to ride the e-bike out to school to feed him.
  • Jenny has to go to the school because the food at the school is terrible and Tony won't touch it.
  • Last night, I phoned my Mother, who lives by herself in Brandon, Manitoba. My sister is paying her a visit but because I was so sleepy when I phoned, I only talked to Mom. I hope I am awake enough to talk to my sister tonight.
  • Mom voted in a Federal by-election.
  • I haven't shaved since Saturday morning.
  • I enjoyed the film Keys to the Kingdom that I finished watching yesterday. They don't make films like that anymore. They, being the major film makers. The Keys to the Kingdom show religious people in a good light.

[School Laptop]
  • I took the 25 bus to school and I just happened to get a glimpse of the new metro train doing a test run on the portion of track where the train goes from underground to above ground. It was going at a fast clip. Too bad, Tony wasn't with me to see it – he would have been very excited.
  • Tony won't be happy when he comes home this afternoon because I again had to put away his train set.

Wednesday [November 27]
[School Laptop]
  • I work 13:00 to 21:00.
  • You can order Crown Royal Whiskey on Taobao! When I got home last night, I was happy to see that it had finally arrived.
  • The Conservatives won the by-election in Brandon, Mom told me, by a thousand votes. The CJOB podcast said by four hundred.
  • To celebrate the arrival of my new bottle of Crown Royal, I almost finished off the old bottle which I had been saving till an auspicious enough occasion arose that I could drink it. And last night, I decided that the arrival of a new bottle of Crown was just such an occasion. I had saved two slugs of Crown in that old bottle but only drank one last night. My next chance to finish off the bottle will come on Saturday.
  • Who would have thunk it? There I was in China, listening to a Winnipeg Blue Bombers press conference. They hired a new general manager
  • Last night, I talked to my sister who was in Brandon to visit our mother. We engaged in friendly chat.
  • Mom mentioned wind chill factors of minus twenty five in Brandon!!! Do I miss that? Yes, I do.
  • I am wearing a cardigan sweater today because reports predict the temperature in Wuxi could get down to zero degrees.

Thursday [November 28]
[School Laptop]
  • I work 10:00 to 21:00.
  • I am wearing long johns today because it is cold, for Wuxi; and temperatures could go down to around zero degrees Celsius. [I know this isn't as bad as in Manitoba from where I was listing to a CJOB podcast about the differences between winter tires and all season radial tires. The report, if it could be believed, said winter tires are much better than all-season tires. The latter, it was said during the podcast, should really be called no-season radials.]
  • I had a blue screen this morning on my school laptop. As I was typing out today's diary entry, my word processing program froze and then crashed. All I had just typed in was lost.
  • And as I was waiting for the laptop to reboot, I had a filling come out. I didn't think I had any fillings left in my mouth. I had had three fall out last year and I have been scared to look at my teeth because I knew they were in such a bad way.
  • I have been putting off going to the dentist for a long time. I do have money on my social insurance card that I can use towards dental work.
  • Dentists are an issue for expats here. Some of the dentists hear will yank out teeth without pain-numbing medicine.

Friday [November 29]
[School Laptop]
  • I work 11:00 to 21:00 today.
  • Nippy outside. What else can I say?
  • I go to the Government Administration Building in the new CBD to do a lunchtime English Corner with an indeterminate number of civil servants.
  • I heard that the owners of the Havana Cafe are selling the business. While it hadn't loss money, the pub hadn't made enough money to make it worth the owners' while.
  • On the 81 bus, I refused an older man who was trying to yield me his seat. I am not sure why this happens to me. Do I look that old and infirm?
  • I voraciously read this book about the Kennedy Assassination which was written by Vincent Bugliosi.
  • LATER: I have gone to the Wuxi government central administration center and done my lunch hour English corner. It was my second time to do it. The first time, I did the English Corner in a large conference room with heavy wooden tables and chairs, high ceilings, and a carpeted floor – it was very plush but not the ideal setting for an English corner. So today, the powers-that-be decided to hold the English corner in an area, with sofas, that was in a hallway on a fourth level of a very high and open interior space. It was like holding an English corner in a walkway overlooking the open central area of a multi-floored shopping mall, like the Hen Long plaza. The place where I talked to the students today offered a brilliant view of a lake that was surrounded on its two sides by bricked walkways. The walkways curved towards each other at the far end of the end lake where there was a brick bridge. The walkways, I was told, lead to stairways on the bridge which allowed one to cross, get to the other walkway, and make a circuit of the lake which could be walked in thirty minutes.
  • I asked two of the students where they worked and they told me that they worked in the discipline department. Not knowing what they meant, I got them to try and clarify, and they then told me that they worked in the discipline department for the members of the Communist Party of China. I realize now they meant to say the disciplinary department.
  • Hearing the world discipline, I should have made jokes about stud leather collars, leather clothing, whips, and chains. Instead, I tried to relate it to Xi Jing Ping talking of reducing corruption in the government. That fell flat. Of course, the other attempt would have fallen flat too but it was a better joke.

Saturday [November 30]
[School Computer]
  • I work 10:00 to 18:00.
  • Last night, I didn't get a seat on the 635 bus home. The bus I take to the 635 stop, that be the 118, was late -- I had been recently taking this bus after school so as to better ensure that I got a seat on the 635. I had discovered that by taking the 118 I could get to an earlier stop on the 635 route that was by the International Hotel (across from Baoli) and so I could avoid the crowded stop (by Wall Street English) and the wrestling that takes place there when it is time to board the bus and get a seat. But the 118 has to arrive earlier enough by my school to allow me do this. Last night, the 118 did not come right away and I had two 67 buses which I could have taken to the crowded and later stop but didn't. I decided to chance it and wait for the 118 but when it did arrive I got to my preferred 635 stop by the International hotel a minute too late – I saw the 635 come to the stop and I was too far away to catch it. So I had to go a stop across the street (by the Jinling Hotel next to the Baoli Shopping Mall) and stand when I did board the bus.
  • At the end of it all, I survived having to stand all the way home for fifty minutes. I listened to my Ipod and thought of the standing as a kind of penance for having always been so fortunate as to have a seat so, so many times before.

[Home Laptop]
  • The classes today were outstanding. I was giddy as I taught them. However, giddiness always make me feel remorseful later. Was I talking too fast? I wondered.
  • When I got home, there were six rowdy children and Tony in the living room – a nightmare. Jenny was having a party for Tony and his friends. I couldn't wait till they got out. They looked to be wrecking all of Tony's toys.
  • Christmas is not going to be very good this year for me. The day is going to be sandwiched in between two working days. So, I will be working on my birthday, the 24th, till 9:00 PM. That evening, I will be faced with the prospect of a depressing one hour bus ride home. Thankfully, I will have Tony and Jenny waiting for me when I get home. Boxing Day, the 26th, will be on a Thursday which happens to be my longest day of the week, so Christmas evening, I will have to go to bed early.
  • What do other expats do for Christmas? I suppose many will be going to an overpriced meal at some Expat pub. My wife, who controls the family purse, won't put up with that.

Sunday [December 1]

  • I don't work today. Yahoo!
  • I was up at 6:20 AM this morning. I couldn't sleep in even I wanted to. So, I got dressed and walked to the Tesco. Walking around it at eight o'clock, I was surprised to see how deserted it was. You would think that there would be lots of Wuxi shoppers up at the time, but either they were the Wanda Plaza Grocery Store or it was even too early for them to be shopping.
  • I walked to the Tesco and enjoyed the crisp cold of the morning since I was dressed for it.
  • Losing that filling earlier this week brought on a temporary feeling of relief since the loose feeling must have been causing me some discomfort. But now, it is painful to chew food with the teeth that I have remaining. So. I have am going to have to see a dentist!
  • But not this week!
  • Tony whines as Jenny tries to cajole him to do his homework.
  • Talking to Jenny, I doubly realize that Christmas is not going to very enjoyable this year. We don't want to repeat what we did last year and go to a cheap buffet restaurant promising a turkey dinner that turns out to be disappointing – and we can't afford to go to a place that would serve anything halfway decent.
  • And the excitement I had about buying Tony some toys was severely dampened by the thief who stole the money I had been saving up in my desk at work for this purpose.
  • I will just have to make the best of it.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Views of China from Casa Kaulins #40

The Andis Kaulins in China Weekly: November 18 to November 24, 2013

Gratitude:  Thank God, I am a reactionary, and I am not a Communist, not a socialist, not a progressive, not a person who defines himself as middle-of-the-road, not a Liberal, not a NDPer, not an atheist, not a Democrat, not a pervert, not a bachelor, not a drug-taker, not a talker, not a comic book reader, and that I am slightly out of stop when passes as contemporary and modern.

Acknowledgement: I have faults some which I may still be blind to, despite knowing that injunction about knowing thyself.

Requests: It is lonely in Akicistan. Being a reactionary and all in a profession prone to be filled with Leftists, I have a hard time finding good conversation and even overhearing someone having intelligent to say. I know I should debate and engage more but I don't like the one against the world feeling that engenders. After all, Life is full of pinpricks that make one wince even if the fact of them is proof you are right and they are wrong. So, I request two things. Correspondence with those of a similar disposition to mine and those, of good will, who disagree with me. I can be reached at

Notice: This will be the last issue of the Andis Kaulins in China Weekly, a.k.a. The AKIC Weekly. In December, I will publish Dispatches form Akicistan #1. Akicistan #1 will have the same sort of content as the AKIC Weekly. However, it will evolve and it will be published on an irregular basis. Calling this blog entry a Weekly does impose limitations. I have decided that I want to publish this magazine at a time that is more convenient for me.

I will still be publishing the diary as well and this too may begin to be published on an irregular basis.

The AKIC Week in Brief: Yet another dull week in Akicistan. I kept myself busy best I could. I wore more clothes to work as the temperatures lowered.

About AKIC: If you want to learn what Andis & AKIC are all about, you can visit here.

An AKIC Glossary

If there are things about AKIC you don't know about, like places and people I mention in the entries below, you can go here to find out what they are all about.

AKIC Weekly Features:


I in in China!  我很喜欢中国菜。但是,我觉得无锡菜是很烫的。

再一个月是圣诞节。我现在要买我的孩子Tony很多玩具。但是,Tony 现在有很多的玩具。

I am Canadian! I continue to hope that Rob Ford doesn't resign. It would seem that there isn't anyone else in Toronto who is fit to be its mayor. The other likely candidates are socialists.

I am Latvian (sort of)! It was with pride that I read of the resistance efforts of Latvians who were imprisoned in the Gulag. With sadness, I heard of the supermarket collapse in Riga.

Wuxi Peach Maoists Update: Visit here to find out how if your Peach Maoists (1-9-1) can win a second game.

Politically I am Conservative/Reactionary! I would like to feel pleasure at the failure of Obamacare and the final once-and-for-all demonstration of the mendaciousness of President Obama and all who were stupid enough to support him. However, there are still 37 percent who approve of the job he is doing which means if you run into a random room of people, these idiots will be among them. And Obamacare will not be repealed anytime soon. The damage that the law will do to healthcare in the America, and the world (which like a parasite depends on America medical breakthroughs to keep their socialist systems going) will be tragic in a manner comparable to the Holocaust, the Gulag, North Korea, and the Cultural Revolution – all man-made disasters.

I teach English! Chinese students seem so lacking in imagination. I can help students who won't speak!

I am not a freak! Actually, I might be. I am in a profession where common sense is an aberration.

I like to Read! Here is what I had been working my way through the past week:

Don Colacho's (Nicolas Gomez Davilla) Aphorisms.  There are 2,988 of them in this book that I compiled for myself.  I try to read at least one aphorism a day.  I cut and paste the better ones -- they are all profound actually -- and I put them in the AKIC Weekly. (See below)

The Niomachean Ethics of Aristotle. Now that I have finished the Catechism, I will read this and then begin to read the Summa.

Ulysses by James Joyce.  I am following along with Frank Delaney as he slowly guides podcast listeners through Joyce's hard-to-read novel.  Delaney figures he will have the whole novel covered in about 22 years.  Delaney completed episode #180a this week and is working his way through the chapter that introduces Leopold Bloom. I am getting ahead of Delaney as far as reading the book.  I will be finished my reading of it, I figure, in a year. I read the novel despite its many blasphemies. It is best to be aware of this stuff because the world is full of it, and the world will always find a way of slapping you in the face with it

The Holy Bible (RSV-C2E version, aka the Ignatius Bible, and Douay-Rheims version).  I will read the two versions in conjunction. Last week, I was reading the Book of Genesis.

Gulag by Anne Applebaum. Finished. A good read, fascinating and depressing. Having heard tales of the Gulag already and having read Solzhenitsyn's Gulag book, Applebaum's history provided me with more details. I was especially struck by the bureaucratic nature of the Gulag. The people writing the reports and the regulations seemed so far removed from the reality of the prison camps where often barbaric and illiterate human beings were given charge of innocent people.

Everything That Rises Must Converge by Flannery O'Connor. A collection of short stories by a Catholic writer. Violent and grotesque are these stories, but unlike modern horror stories which are done for the sake of violence and gore, O'Connor's stories are religious and about the issues of our souls.

I like to take photos

I publish them in the following blogs:  AKIC wordpress , TKIC blogspot, TKIC wordpress, Views of China from Casa Kaulins Blogspot and Views of China from Casa Kaulins Wordpress. It is my habit to take a least one photo of Tony a day and publish it in TKIC wordpress. I also try to capture interesting things that pass by the Casa Kaulins apartment, either on video on still image, and publish them in Views of China from Casa Kaulins.

I like to make videos

Here is my Youtube Channel and my Youku Channel.

I like to cut, paste, and sometimes give my take on quotations:

Nicholas Gomez Davilla:

530 The soul is man's task. [I rarely meet people who know this.]

531 Every man is capable, at each moment, of possessing those truths which matter.

In the future await the subordinate truths.

532 One being alone can suffice for you. But let it never be Man. [This appeals to the misanthrope in me.]

537 In every age a minority lives today's problems and a majority yesterday's. [The Left today persists in fighting racism.]

539 From the sum of all points of view does not emerge the object in relief, but confusion. [That's Democracy for you...]

540 Man unleashes catastrophes when he insists on making coherent the contradictory pieces of evidence among which he lives. [Discard taboos against having children out of wedlock because it doesn't seem to be humane, and look at the results.]

547 History might only come from insignificant actions. [There is something to be said for that.]

549 Upon each person depends whether his soul, deprived of its many pretensions by the years, is revealed as bitter spite or humble resignation. [I have to admit that I teeter between bitter spite and humble resignation. Knowing I teeter, I keep quiet. Quiet breeds humility? I wonder.]

David Warren:

I have noticed that everyone is "conservative" in a subject he knows something about. Steve Temple, for instance, is wonderfully conservative about books, as all the other serious booksellers I know. And I have known, for instance, a shrieking Marxist who was intensely conservative about the standards of engraving on the postage stamps he collected. That was because he knew something about stamps. I could provide several million more items of anecdotal evidence. …

Conversely, people tend to be "liberal" in subjects they know nothing about — such as public affairs and elementary economics in the case of most booksellers. And indeed, as I have several times tried to explain to them, journalists tend to be very liberal, right across the board. This is because they know nothing about anything. [I have always suspected that most journalists were ignorant about most things.]

Saint Thomas More:

"For in man reason ought to reign like a king, and it does reign when it makes itself loyally subject to the faith, and serves God."

AKIC's Top Ten Favorite Writers

  1. Evelyn Waugh [So funny.]

  2. Florence King [I like southern American writers. This one says she is Atheist.]

  3. Flannery O'Connor [I like southern American writers. This one is Catholic.]

  4. GK Chesterton [GKC is a writer for all of time.]

  5. William Shakespeare [What more can I say?]

  6. David Warren [He might be the only living writer on this list. Is FK still alive?]

  7. Arthur Conan Doyle [There is more to him than the Sherlock Holmes stories.]

  8. Stephen Leacock [Canada had great writers before Turdeau.]

  9. WH Mallock [I discovered this Victorian writer this year.]

  10. George Orwell [The only Leftie on the list. Because of his honesty, I find myself forgetting that he was a daft Socialist.]

I forgot, on Monday, to decide on a topic of a top list. So, this list has been hastily made. I am sure I have made some grave oversights.

I fashion myself to be a 21st Century Pepys

Here is my diary entry for November 18 to November 24, 2013.

Views of China from Casa Kaulins #38

The Andis Kaulins in China Diary: November 18 to November 24, 2013

Monday [November 18]
[Home Laptop]
Not working today. Just staying at home playing on the computer.


I spend afternoon on couch.  I watch Red Dawn – a remake of a movie made in the 1980's.  I watch the start of the Keys to the Kingdom: a movie so far set in Scotland and China.  

It was a mistake to watch Red Dawn 2012. Like the original made in the 1980's, it was silly. The people who say it is a Conservative movie should be ashamed of themselves.

I wait for Tony.  He will do homework when he gets home. 

I want to hug the little fellow.  I can't help but overindulge him; for I have lead a lonely life. He is my buddy.

Completed a series in Real Racing 3: an app I play on my Ipad.

Tuesday [November 19]
[Home Laptop]
I work 13:00 to 21:00. It is my Monday.

Last night, I set up Plarail (toy train) track for Tony. I took a video of him proudly showing up a train crash he had set up.

This morning, I am trying to take things one at a time.

I drank some tea which seemed to collide with some phlegm that was coming up from my chest. I choked and was gasping for breath for about ten seconds. It happened last week at school when I had drank some water. After I was breathing normally again, I blew my nose and a big load of snot came out.

I can't shake this cold. It seems that its harsh symptoms are coming back.

Tony has this cold too.

[School Laptop]
I took the 25 bus to school. I like the walk I take, down a bustling side street, from the bus stop, near Nanchang Market, to the school. It makes me feel like I am really in China.

Peach Maoists are winning 87-84 with six minutes left in the Monday Night Game. Can they hold on for their second victory?

. No! They lose 92-89! Their record falls to 1-9-1.

It is cold in the office because the heater isn't on and there also isn't any central heating. I am tempted to put on my toque (or wool cap for those who don't speak Canadian.)

Something has happened to David Warren's website. All his blog entries have disappeared and the site has a message saying “coming soon.”

I won't have dinner till I get home, which will be after 10:00 PM.

A student told me that he and his roommates had caught a thief in their dorm room at their High School. The student and his friends had decided to go out for lunch in the evening instead of staying at school and studying. The thief, who knew the students schedule and so was expecting the dorm to be deserted, was surprised when they walked into their room. The student and his roommates keep the thief in their room, asked him questions, and took photos of him. He was a boy of school age who could speak Mandarin. The thief told the students that he was part of a gang of ten thieves who were robbing school dormitories. He even boasted to having the keys to all the rooms in their dormitory building.

Unfortunately, he was able to escape before the police arrived. The foreigners all said they would have rough-housed the thief. The students did nothing.

Wednesday [November 20]
[Home Laptop]
I work 13:00 to 21:00.

My struggle with my cold continues.

I hope the David Warren site comes back.  All its content was pulled about two days ago.

I phoned my Mom (she lives in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada) last night.  It is cold in Brandon (minus five) and they had a little snow.  My sister will be coming from British Columbia next week to pay Mom a visit.  I may get a chance to talk to my sister who I haven't really talked to since the time of Dad's death. (We have exchanged a few emails but we haven't talked)

There will be a by-election next week in Brandon.  The seat in the federal parliament is up for grabs.  

[School Laptop]
I took the 602bus to the downtown, and transferred to the 79 to get to school. On the 602支,an old man got sick into bucket, left for that purpose I would suppose, near the back exit door of the bus.

Thursday [November 21]
[School Laptop]
You'd think nothing was happening in my life; what with the paucity of words in my journal entries.

Well! Let me tell you. Stuff is happening and I am thinking things in my head that I just can't put into my blog. These thoughts are all unformed and amorphous.

I work 10:00 to 21:00 today. It is my long day, as I like to say.

Tuesday night, I did a salon about history. I asked the students if they could tell me what historical event they would change if they could. One student told me he would have changed the results of the Chinese Civil War. “We would be more free now!” he added. This is not the first time I have heard this sentiment expressed by students. Unfortunately, the Nationalists were the stupid side in the war, kind of like modern establishment Republicans.

Last night, I came home, hoping to see Tony fast asleep. Instead, Jenny was still having him do his Chinese homework. I could only sigh in frustration.

I got an email from HM's daughter.

HM is a friend of mine from Australia who worked at my school for a short time, after which we maintained a correspondence. He had a stroke recently but he was able to carry on with his life best he could – I receiving emails from him and he was attending courses at university and fighting Leftists To his credit, he was a Christian and a conservative.

After his stroke, I told him to just ensure that his daughters would keep updated about him if he wasn't able to. Well, I just got an email from his daughter. Not many details were provided. She said that HM was thinking of me. All I can do is pray for him and hope he gets better. He deserves many more years of life.

Friday [November 22]
[School Laptop]
I work 11:00 to 21:00 today.

Tony took his Tomica Plarail Catalog to school. I hope he doesn't lose it.

It is the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy Assassination today.

I have to admit that I am or can say I was a Kennedy Assassination buff. I read books about the JFK assassination, and I have been to Dealey Plaza and been on the sixth floor of the Texas School Depository Building. I started out thinking it was a conspiracy until I unknowingly bought a book that said Oswald did it. Reading the book forever changed my mind about what happened. People who think Oswald didn't do are brain dead. When I hear that people found Oliver Stone's film about the assassination to be influential, I am totally aghast.

Consider the following:
  • The magic bullet wasn't a magic bullet. If you take into account where and how the Governor and the President were sitting when the second shot was fired, the angles lined up. And if you watch the Zapruder film, you can see that Kennedy and the Texas Governor were hit at the same time by the second shot.
  • The Head shot physics were not as simple as a cue ball hitting another cue ball. The physics of a fast moving projectile puncturing a body with a hard shell isn't a simple transfer of force form one body to another. These forces generated by the shattering of the shell surrounding JFK's brain caused it to move toward where the shots were fired.
  • Oswald's fingerprints were on the gun that was found on the sixth floor of the TSBD. A photo of Oswald was taken before the assassination showing him holding the gun that he used to shot Kennedy.
  • Photos taken of the Grassy Knoll as the shots were being fired showed no shooter.
  • Oswald could have been rounded up by the FBI before the assassination but fell through the cracks of the security precautions that were made for JFK's visit to Dallas.
  • Oswald's brother thinks that LHO did the deed.
  • In fact, the assassination was a very open and shut case.

It is also my friend Heather's birthday today. She was born the day of the JFK assassination. I sent her a birthday greeting email and have just received a lovely email in response.

Tony wants me to set up the toy train track for him. I had set it up for him earlier this week but Jenny asked me to put it away. And so Tony complained last night.

Saturday [November 23]
[School Laptop]
I work 10:00 to 18:00 today.

Saturdays at school can be annoying if you have some of the annoying middle school students in your classes. Understandably, they are tired after a weekly regimen that I probably could never put up with; and so they just don't want to be in class – attempts to entertain them end up flat.

Tony & Jenny went to the Big Buddha this morning. They left the apartment before I did. Tony said good bye to me as he left.

Last evening, Tony was asking me to go to bed. “Why are you going to bed? Daddy?” he said.

I took the 602bus to the downtown.

I have this fear that someone is going to try to break into the apartment today. None of the Kaulins family is in the house today. The fear was sparked by workers near our home (they were painting white on tree trunk bottoms) staring at me. Let's break into the laowei's apartment! Yeah!

[Home Laptop]
No one broke into the apartment. So much for irrational premonitions!

After work, I quickly caught the bus and made my way to the Wuxi Hui Shan Wanda where I meet Jenny & Tony for dinner.

After eating, we went home.

Exciting life! I know.

Sunday [November 24]
[Home Laptop]
I don't work today.

It is raining outside. Because of this, I wasn't planning on going anywhere, but then Tony said he wanted to go to the Wuxi Hui Shan Wanda Plaza arcade to play the “Truck Game.”

And so we went since Sunday is the one day of the week I can indulge him.

I took Tony to the stores selling toys, the arcade so he could play the truck game, the Apple store so he could play on the Ipad, and to McDonalds so I could buy him a Happy Meal and get him a transformer toy.

We stayed at Wanda from lunch time to 4:00 PM. When I decided it was time to leave, I got a lot of resistance from Tony. His tactic was to stand in my way with his arms spread wide and not let me pass. I walked half the length of the Mall doing a stupid game of trying to get around him. I finally lost my temper and screamed at him, using language that I will admit was a trite vulgar.

Tony wanted to stay and look at toys. I think he has enough toys and I would rather he stay at home and play with the ones he has. In fact, he has more toys than I ever had. [Not that I begrudge this. In fact, I am glad that it is so.]

David Warren's site is back up. He has a pay button. If I had more money, I would make a contribution. I would also have to try to explain why I was doing it for Jenny.

I am thinking of ending the AKIC Weekly. From now on, I will publish an AKIC newsletter. It will have the same contents as the AKIC Weekly. However, I won't publish it on a weekly basis. I will publish it when I feel like it.

I will name this newsletter Dispatches from Akicistan. I won't date them I will number them. Dispatches from Akicistan #1 will be published in December. I will publish one more issue of the AKIC Weekly.

Tony & Jenny went to some charity event for Tibet. [Would the Chinese ever do one for North Korea? I suppose they have no plans to annex it.]

I still have the cough and the stuck-up feeling in my chest.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Views of China from Casa Kaulins #37

The Andis Kaulins in China Weekly: November 11 to November 17, 2013

Gratitude:  I am thankful for the times the truth is revealed to me.

Acknowledgement: I have to stop living in my mind and grasp the things that I know I need. No one is going to give them to me.

Requests: Since I can't expect anything to be given to me, I shouldn't request it. I pray for the welfare of others, and that my enemies will see the light. I do hope I can have the good fortune to meet some good people I can befriend. But even then, you got to create your own fortune.

The AKIC Week in Brief: Another boring week in Akicistan. I was driven to a the administrative center of the new Wuxi CBD in a black Audi. A highlight of sorts I'd suppose.

About AKIC: If you want to learn what Andis & AKIC are all about, you can visit here.

If there are things about AKIC you don't know about, like places and people I mention in the entries below, you can go here to find out what they are all about.

AKIC Weekly Features:

I in in China!  我的家有两个卧室。我孩子的拼音是不好。我孩子是不好的学生。

I am Canadian! I still don't want Rob Ford to resign. Toronto should be thankful for the attention.

I am Latvian (sort of)! My middle name is Edmunds.

Reading Anne Applebaum's Gulag, I realize I should thank my lucky stars that my parents were able to get out of Latvia in the 1940s before the Russians came in.

Wuxi Peach Maoists Update: Visit here to find out how if your Peach Maoists (1-8-1) can get a winning streak going.

Politically I am Conservative/Reactionary! Better to have a conservative who smokes crack as your mayor than a Leftist. Rob Ford was at least drunk when he smoked cracked. A modern progressive/leftist/democrat(U.S.)/socialist smokes crack when sober.

I teach English! Is there a way, I can make the headline of this section appear ironic?
Really, I talk to the students hoping to educate by entertaining them. Beats me if they learn anything.
I am not a freak! I try hard, in a monkish sort of way, to not be one.
I like to Read! Here is what I had been working my way through the past week:
Don Colacho's (Nicolas Gomez Davilla) Aphorisms.  There are 2,988 of them in this book that I compiled for myself.  I try to read at least one aphorism a day.  I cut and paste the better ones -- they are all profound actually -- and I put them in the AKIC Weekly. (See below)
The Niomachean Ethics of Aristotle. Now that I have finished the Catechism, I will read this and then begin to read the Summa.

Ulysses by James Joyce.  I am following along with Frank Delaney as he slowly guides podcast listeners through Joyce's hard-to-read novel.  Delaney figures he will have the whole novel covered in about 22 years.  Delaney completed episode #179 this week and is working his way through the chapter that introduces Leopold Bloom. I am getting ahead of Delaney as far as reading the book.  I will be finished my reading of it, I figure, in a year. I read the novel despite its many blasphemies. It is best to be aware of this stuff because the world is full of it, and the world will always find a way of slapping you in the face with it

The Holy Bible (RSV-C2E version, aka the Ignatius Bible, and Douay-Rheims version).  I will read the two versions in conjunction. Last week, I was reading the Book of Genesis.

Mao Zedong: Man, Not God by Quan Yanchi. A Hagiography given to me by a local. [The Chinese who protested against Jimmy Kimmel's six year old child by posting a picture of Kimmel with a Hitler moustache, could also have put a Mao mole on Kimmel's face while they were at it. Hitler never killed any Chinese that I know of. Mao did however. In fact, he killed a lot.]

Gulag by Anne Applebaum. Many Balts, from whom I am descended, were taken to the Gulag. I thank my lucky stars that my parents, who were born in Latvia, were able to get out before the Soviets came in.

I like to take photos
I publish them in the following blogs:  AKIC wordpress , TKIC blogspot, TKIC wordpress, Views of China from Casa Kaulins Blogspot and Views of China from Casa Kaulins Wordpress. It is my habit to take a least one photo of Tony a day and publish it in TKIC wordpress. I also try to capture interesting things that pass by the Casa Kaulins apartment, either on video on still image, and publish them in Views of China from Casa Kaulins.

I like to make videos

I like to cut, paste, and sometimes give my take on quotations:
Nicolas Gomez Davilla
497 To live with lucidity a simple, quiet, discrete life among intelligent books, loving a few beings. [That is the life!]
498 A sentence should be hard like a rock and shake like a branch. [To be honest, I am not sure what that means even though I like the sound of it. If I do ever figure out what this aphorism means, I wonder if I will be able to apply it to the sentence making the students do for me.]
505 To educate the soul consists in teaching it to transform its envy into admiration. [Get rid of envy and you should cease to be a Leftist, a progressive, a Communist, a Socialist, and so on....]
509 Society tends to be unjust, but not in the way the conceited imagine. There are always more masters who do not deserve their position than servants who do not deserve theirs. [I am part of the servant class. No way I could be a master.]
510 Resistance is futile when everything in the world is conspiring to destroy what we admire. We are always left, however, with an incorruptible soul, so that we might contemplate, judge, and disdain. [I like this quote because it ends with the word “disdain.” But I wonder about the state of my soul. I like the word “disdain” for the wrong reasons: pride.]
519: Happiness is that state of the sensibility in which everything appears to have a reason for being. [This is only true if souls exist.]

David Warren:
1)We are small & squalid & statistical, perhaps not even worth punishing. Our men are not men & our women are not women. Look at the vacant faces in the streets, blindly clutching their mall purchases. What god, what demon, could be bothered to regard our “public opinion”?

The debt crises in Europe & America, the omnipresence of “the NSA,” the conspicuous failure of schemes like Obamacare, the smug look on politicians’ faces, frustrations associated with longer commuting times & diminishing real wages — these are all little triggers. We are like union members in a company whose managers are too obviously incompetent to sustain their arrogance. And we are tired of obeying their innumerable, fussy little rules. My hunch is that there is going to be a strike.

2)Our very Anglo-Saxon, gliberal answer to our own racialism is “reverse discrimination.” This reverses the polarity, but on the same magnet.

Indeed, the election of the inexperienced, foolish, unqualified, excessively vain & deluded, obviously incompetent Barack Obama as President of those United States was, to my mind, not an indication that America was putting racialism behind her, but rather that it could not be overcome. He was elected because he was black, & that made the whites voting for him feel good about themselves. Had he been superficially a white man (as he might have been, had the Mendelian genetic dice rolled the other way), he would never have been taken seriously as a presidential candidate. [I had thought that the only way a Black could be elected U.S. President would have been if he was a Republican with the ideas of a Thomas Sowell. That, the first Black U.S. President is a Democrat shows I was too much of an optimist. Racialism seems stuck with humans like death and taxes. Sad.]

Excerpt from Anne Applebaum's Gulag:
Thinking about his arrest before it happened, Innokenty had pictured to himself a duel of wits to the death. For this he was ready, prepared for a high-principled defense of his life and his convictions. Never had he imagined anything so simple, so dull, and so irresistible as this reality. The people who had received him were petty-minded, low-grade officials, as uninterested in his personality as in what he had done. [I am kicking against the petty-mindedness and dullness of my reality. I suppose I could survive in the Gulag.]

Said about Flannery O'Connor:
She was always suspicious of her own motives,  [Believe it or not, I am suspicious of my own motives. And I do find myself checking many things I imagine I would say if I could. I am what I am.]

GK Chesterton:
The Lord said to love one's enemies. He didn't say anything but not having them.” [I am typing this quote from memory. A distinction that is not often thought of by people who aren't Christian and many who say they are.]

In the Anglo-Saxon world at least, there seems to be a law of the conservation of prudery: If we are not prudish about one thing, we are prudish about another, the total amount of prudery remaining constant.  [I think this law of the conversation of prudery can be applied to more than just prudery and the Anglo-Saxon world. Whatever tendencies there are in the human race, they are constant over time. For example, the callousness about the fate of people who weren't our own kind has been replaced by a callousness about the fate of the murdered unborn.]

Public transport is the great theatre of the world, which is why I always take it (whenever I can) in preference to that frightful contraption, my motor car. You learn so much on public transport; in a car you just lose your temper. [Actually, I lose my temper on the bus in Wuxi sometimes. But I would lose my temper all the time if I drove a car in Wuxi. And there things I see on the bus that I would never see in a car: lower and lower middle peasants, for instance.]

The AKIC List of the Week: AKIC's Top Twelve Americans
  1. Rush Limbaugh [Warts and all, I thank Limbaugh for the fact that I am a conservative and on the way to being a person of faith.]
  2. William F Buckley [A Catholic who represented all that was fine about America.]
  3. Clint Eastwood [How could he not be included on this list?]
  4. George Washington [Under Chairman Mao, he didn't die in office. He retired to his estate.]
  5. Frank Sinatra [The greatest singer of all time.]
  6. Gary Carter [He was my favourite baseball player. A true American golly gee guy who'd be called a phony by Socialist sophisticates. With two outs in bottom of the ninth inning of the sixth game of the 1986 World Series, no body on base, his team down by two runs in the game, his team down 3-2 in the best of seven series, Carter got a hit that sparked the greatest rally in World Series history. Hearing of Carter's premature death brought the best and saddest memories of my time following the Montreal Expos from 1979 to 1983.]
  7. Andrew Breibart [David Warren, on my list of top ten Canadians, said Breibart was a happy warrior in the war against the Left. Hearing of his premature death filled me with immense sadness.
  8. Thomas Sowell [He is no token black on this list. Along with Rush and WFB, Sowell provided the intellectual proof I needed on my path to becoming a reactionary.]
  9. Ronald Reagan [The greatest president of my lifetime.]
  10. Jimmy Stewart [A tall and thin man like myself. He was the rare combination of movie star and decent human being.]
  11. Anne Coulter [A gutsy broad. An American Margaret Thatcher.]
  12. Sarah Palin [I still have hope that she can become the first female president of the USA. The woman is salt of the earth. No sage, she is, but she is fill of more common sense that Obama, Biden, or any of the Clintons.]

I fashion myself to be a 21st Century Pepys

The Andis Kaulins in China Diary: November 11 to November 17, 2013

Monday [November 11]
[Home Laptop]
I don't work today.

It is Remembrance Day in Canada. I have marked the day by posting pictures of poppies on some of my websites.

I woke up this morning at about 6:30 AM so I could take Tony to where we meet the car that takes him to school.

I have spent the rest of the day on my laptop and Ipad. I published a bunch of things on my blogs. I finished watching the movie Peeping Tom. I tried uploading a bunch of movies, via Torrent, on my computer.

I also did a little bit of vacuuming. I hung clothes to be dried. And I waited for Tony to come back from school.

I got to get back into the habit of taking photos for my Views of China from Casa Kaulins blog.

I almost forgot to mention that I phoned my mother last night. She lives in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada where the temperature was sixteen degrees below zero when I phoned her.

I was surprised by my brother Ron answering the phone. He was in Brandon for the weekend, doing some work for Mom in the house – basically tearing down shelves that Dad had put up through the years.

Ron told me that the two Winnipeg sports team sucked and that his knowledge of the current popular culture was less than mine – he doesn't have the access to the free stuff that I do in China.

Tuesday [November 12]
[Home Laptop]
I'll work 13:00 to 21:00 today.

Last evening was Daddy and Tony time as Andis took Tony out of Casa Kaulins. They went to the Wuxi Hui Shan Wanda Plaza to visit their usual haunts: the arcade, the Apple shop, the toy sections, and McDonald's. At the arcade, Tony played the “truck” game – a highway driving game, with steering and pedals, whose object is to race through streets as fast as one can while at the same time colliding with many vehicles as one can. The game is visually stunning and Andis is happy to watch while Tony plays.

Others find the game fun to watch as well. When Tony & Andis went to the game machine, there was no one around. Playing the game, they didn't notice a crowd of twenty people had built up around them. When they did notice the crowd, Tony did a double-take and Andis pulled out a camera to take a photo and video of all the spectators. (Andis showed the video to Jenny later and she laughed.)

At the McDonald's, Tony wanted and got a happy meal so he could get the transformer/ultraman type toy. When he got home, Tony had to rummage through all his toys to find another toy, from the series, that he had gotten a month earlier, ignoring his parents plea that he take a bath.

[Home Laptop]
I took the 25 bus to work.

I got my lunch money.

So, I can tick off blog on my todo list.

The Wuxi Peach Maoists may win their first game of the year and end their nine game winless streak!

For lunch, I walked 8 meters outside the school entrance and went to the Characteristics of Beef Noodles Restaurant and had a plate of fried noodles: Chao La Mian (炒拉面).

Wednesday [November 13]
[School Laptop]
I work 13:00 to 21:00.

I ran into a couple of foreigners on the 25 Bus this morning. They were both older male teachers from the Jiangsu Xishan High School. One of them was Bill from San Diego and the other, whose name I forgot, was from South Africa. They were going downtown to see the dentist.

The South African had been in Hui Shan for three years. He was quite familiar with some of the sights of Hui Shan including the White House and the ghost town shopping mall that has a ferris wheel.

Using a government building, even a big one, isn't very helpful when trying to tell me where something is in Wuxi. Wuxi is chalk full of big government buildings.

I had a young male student give me his impressions of America. He expressed annoyance at the Jimmy Kimmel Show for showing a six year old child say kill all the Chinese. All I can tell him that it was comedy and that no one seriously wanted to kill all the Chinese. I should have added that it is so easy to be offended in this world and that America generally doesn't get worked up about all the bad things said about it.

I asked the student if he wanted to move to America. He told me that he was worried about all the gun violence in America. I told him that he was being ridiculous and that most Americans have probably never witnessed any gun violence in their lives.

Most Americans wanted guns I told him because they wanted safety.

While the young man admitted that much about China wasn't great, he did have the desire to be offended, that the government was feeding him, by getting mad about a late night comedy show sketch that most people would have forgotten about save for the Chinese having made a fuss about it.

For lunch, I went to a restaurant, near the Nanchang Temple Market, that serves a delicious dish of beef fried rice (niurou fan 牛肉饭). I can't go to Characteristics of Beef Noodles everyday now, can I?

Thursday [November 14]
[School Laptop]
I work 10:00 to 21:00 today.

Just for the sake of mentioning it, I will mention something about my morning routine. The podcasts I subscribe to will, for the most part, automatically update themselves on my Ipod. However because I am behind the Great Firewall and because the Wifi signal on my side of the bed is weak, I always have to make a point of checking my Ipod to see if in fact my favorite podcasts have been downloaded and sometimes I have to press some buttons to make sure that they do get downloaded.

Sometimes the buses I ride will come to very quick stops because other drivers and cyclists in traffic will do very unpredictable things and not look where they are going. This quick stops can jolt the passengers. Particularly quick stops can knock some passengers to the ground. This morning as I rode the 602bus, I experienced my worst quick screeching to a halt stop ever. I was riding in the back seat of the bus which is the highest point in the bus's interior, and I was studying Chinese on my Ipad. The bus was making a right turn merging into another lane when it very suddenly came to a halt – I'd say it went from 40 kmh to 0 in no time flat. The passengers screamed, gasped and a few, near the back exit door, were jolted so that they tumbled in a pile. As I looked up from my Ipad, which I clutched like it was Tony, I saw the bodies fly. The bus driver actually had to leave his seat and see if the passengers were alright. One passenger, a woman, he had to pull up from the ground. He talked to her, with a pleading and guilty look in his eyes, and then returned to his seat to drive the bus. The woman was clutching her head for the rest of the trip. When the 602stopped in front of the 101 Hospital, the driver got out of seat and walk back to talk to the woman again – they exchanged phone numbers.

This morning, I listened to an EWTN podcast – a Mother Angelica podcast.

AKIC Health Update: Last week's heavy cough is gone. Now, I am just stuffed up and need to blow my nose a lot.

Lunch: Chao La Mian. Again. I know.

Friday [November 15]
[School Laptop]
Sad news from Jenny's hometown. The brother of her adoptive father is dying of cancer. The brother isn't staying in a hospital; he is staying, dying, at home.

Tony took a Pinyin Test yesterday. He failed. He was one of the three or four students in a class of 52 who did. While I was disappointed to hear of it, I wasn't surprised. I had been given word, last week, that his progress was not very good; his teachers being mad at him for dropping the class averages down.

I got to do a lunchtime speakers corner at the Wuxi government administrative center in the new CBD.

The attendees at the corner were good and I very much enjoyed talking to them.

However, it was the building that interested me the most. It was massive and gigantic in a way that Chinese state buildings can be. It had wide corridors like the Hen Long Plaza. The ceiling in the carpeted conference room was thirty feet high. The windows, as tall as the ceilings, gave one an amazing view of the surrounding area. Looking out of the windows, I could see endless columns of the building curving gradually and uniformly into the far distance. The building I was told, could hold 6,000 civil servants.

The building is so massive that at lunchtime, workers can get exercise by walking a circuit of its hallways like others who would walk around a running track at a sports field.

The most interesting feature of the building was a garbage can I saw in hallway outside the bathroom. It was numbered thus: 12号楼3F. Someone had taken the time to make labels to affix to the garbage cans so that they were put and kept in the proper place in the building.

Just as I left, I was asked by one of the civil servants if I was a Christian. I told her I was, in the sense that I wish I could truly call myself one, and that I leaned towards being a Catholic.

Should I mention it? My first reaction was not to. Now, I have an urge to, but I will suppress it. Perhaps, I will mention it tomorrow. For now, I will be cryptic. There was a Sarah Palinish aspect to it. (Good luck, trying to figure out what I mean by that. For I am being very cryptic.)

One more thing. I had some conversations with the civil servants about the jurisdictions in Wuxi that left me confused. There is a Wuxi super area comprised of three cities: Wuxi, Jiangyin, and Yixing. Wuxi is administratively higher than Jiangyin and Yixing. Wuxi city is divided into seven districts including the Hui Shan District in which I live. I assumed that the Hui Shan District was subordinate to Wuxi City and lacked the independence of a Jiangyin City, but I was then told by a second civil servant that Jiangyin is administratively on the same level as the Hui Shan District. Some jurisdictional vocabulary was missing. What!!!?!

Saturday [November 16]
[School Laptop]
I work 10:00 to 18:00

Policy. Don't talk. Keep to yourself. As much as possible, of course. [LECTOR: Why? ANDIS: I said I wasn't talking.]

It is going to be a day to get through. Sad thing to say when life is short and one's days are numbered.

[Home Laptop]

I hate Saturdays at our school. Too many Beavis and Butthead students come to our school. Saturday is their one day off during the week and you can tell they'd rather be somewhere else.

Not all the public school students who come to our school are bad. I had a one-on-one class with one student who goes to Tianyi High School and he was telling me about his day. The class topic was “A Day in a Life,” and so I grilled him on a typical day he had at school. It was quite regulated from 545 AM in the morning to 630 at night, and he had little free time.

After school, I meet Jenny & Tony at the Suning Plaza where we had supper. We would have had a perfect meal at the Grandma's Restaurant if they hadn't forgotten to have brought out the fried potatoes I had ordered. They came ten minutes after we had finished all our other dishes, and of course when I finally got them, I could see that they were cooked hastily. [That's been happening a lot lately when I go to restaurants. Three weeks ago, they screwed my order at Pizza Hut and when the pizza did come, the toppings were all piled in the center of the pizza, leaving me with a four inch crust edge. It was another case of a cook hastily preparing a late dish. This morning, I was mistakenly given bean milk instead of coffee with my take away McDonald's breakfast.]

We then went to the Baoli Carrefour to buy some margarine and some ground beef – it was sold out.

We then took the taxi home [A rare thing.] and the driver didn't know the way.

China has a lot of people and a lot of mediocrity.

I was listening to a Dennis Prager Podcast (from the American Conservative University series of podcasts that can be had at the Itunes Store) and it really struck a never with me. Prager was doing a Happiness Hour episode about how happy people choose good people as their friends. I listened and I thought I now had a reason to justify my friendlessness – I have met few good people out here in Wuxi, among the foreigners. [The good ones I have meet are Steve Wall, HM and the Fritzs. And there are a few others.] Of course, I can't claim to be a good person myself. I feel I am in a situation where there isn't much to be done but keep to myself and make efforts to seek out some good people.

Prager also had two calls from listeners that eerily reminded me of things in my life. One caller, sixty years old, phoned to say he didn't have any friends because he lost the ones he did have in Vietnam and because he had a solitary character. His best friend was his wife. Prager told the caller that unfortunately his call wasn't really relevant to the idea of this particular Happy Hour which was that having good people as friends can make you happy. I was struck by the foolishness of the caller for another reason. The caller saying he was a solitary type conflicted with his need to declare on public airwaves that he had no friends. Clearly, the man had issues and had lead a lonely life.... And I was like that caller. A second caller, a female, talked about about a group of female friends who worked together and had been very close till one of the women married a man of questionable character. The others in the group tolerated the woman's husband, because they loved the woman so much. But the husband caused a conflict which involved his filing a lawsuit against some of the other women in the group. The woman took her husband's side with the result that the friendship the group had had was put to an end. And because they were still working together, the relationship became gut-wrenching to deal with – they had to interact on a solely professional level. Prager told the caller that her story was a tragedy. I have had a few of those tragedies in my life – there is nothing that can be done about them.

This afternoon, Jenny went to visit some acquaintances in the New District. These people were living in a 90 square meter apartment with two other families. So altogether there were ten people living in this apartment! The Chinese Family Kaulins, three people, lives in a 89 square meter apartment which, while not big, is cozy for the number of people there are. With ten people living in the 90 square meter apartment, there is no living room! The rent, which is split up among the three families, is about 1300 rmb per month.

Sunday [November 17]
[Home Laptop]
Not working today. Thank God.

We went to a restaurant at the Hui Shan Wanda Plaza for lunch.

I downloaded three helicopter apps from the Itunes Store.

Boy oh Boy! What an exciting day!

Most of my blogging today is being done for the AKIC Weekly and the Andis Kaulins Anti-Blog.